Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Confession

I am so stinkin' excited for this Christmas I can't hardly stand myself.

My whole life I've known that Christmas is the most magical and wonderful time of the year. My Grandaddy loved him some Christmas. He'd start singing carols around Thanksgiving and every time someone would come around, he'd start belting one out. Did I mention he really couldn't sing that well? This time of year, I miss that man more than I can say. He loved giving me and my brother presents at Christmas and Lawd help an old man when the great grand babies came along. He had all his great grand girls before he passed away and he loved for them to sit in his lap and they would let him sing to his heart content. (I still get sad that he never got to see the two boys...he would have been right on over the moon over those two.)

We have that satellite radio up in the truck and I've kept it on the Holiday station since I found it. Now, the kids might be complaining a tad over hearing the same songs over and over, but I love it. When "Rudolph" or "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" or "Frosty" or any of those classics come on...I've found myself getting a tad bit misty. I can hear my Grandaddy singing one of those tunes or whistling one (He was a great whistler!) as he went about his day. I get this little pang that I know means I miss him greatly.....but I also realize that when I hear one of those songs? He's here in spirit with us.

My Daddy loves him some Christmas, too. He has great potential to be grumpy year round (I see those of you who know him nodding your head), but give him December 24th and 25th, and he is the definition of happiness and cheer. Now, Daddy isn't one to go singing like his Dad, but he gets all happy and teases us all about what gifts we might be getting or what Santa might bring. I love seeing my Daddy like this because he just loves the whole entire season. He checks out everything every one gets and has even been known to play with a few toys and know, doing a quality check and all that stuff. Every Christmas Eve before we go crazy opening presents, he does a little speech where he talks about Jesus being born and all that is holy about Christmas. We go around the room and everyone will tell something that they are thankful for from that year or just in general. I admit that I get a little long winded some times and the kids roll their eyes when it's my turn. I always mention my Grandaddy, get choked up, and have to pass my turn on to the next person.

Let's mention my brother, shall we? I love my brother. He can be so stoic and stern acting, but give him Christmas and his eyes light up and he grins constantly because he can't wait for people to open presents from him and his family. He is very kind in that he tries to give my kids stuff that makes noise. Lots of loud noises. When my child opens a gift and it starts screeching, I look at him to see him laughing and giving me a thumbs up. Lord, I do love that brother of mine.

Reading this post, it seems to me that the males in my family have been thoroughly bitten by the Christmas Bug. I love the holiday, too, and gladly tolerate their giddiness and happiness. I realized this week, that it's not just the males who get all out of sorts. I do, too!!! I think the past few years, I've been so focused on making sure gifts are bought and packing up my family to travel six hours one way to really have a chance to get fully immersed in the spirit of the season. I can't believe the stress that has been taken off of me with us deciding to stay in our home this year. I'm not dreading a long drive with over excited children. I'm not dreading sleeping in a bed that is guaranteed to break my back by morning time. I'm not dreading packing ALL the stuff up and bringing it back home, just to have to clean up here.

Don't get me hasn't hit me yet that, for the first time in 39 years, I won't spend those two magical days with my family that I love with all my heart. I hope to stay busy and laughing so I don't get all leaky around the eye area because I miss my Mama and Daddy and brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephew and Grandma and Aunt and all.

I want to fully immerse myself in the magic of the season and the reason for the season. My family best hang on...Mama is on a mission!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Help Me Understand, Please

You know in a previous post, I was talking about helping someone less fortunate this year. I'm so sad because there's so many people who need help because of circumstances going on these days.

I read somewhere (in a submarine wives forum I belong to) that the angel trees they have this time of year, people are quick to grab the young kids, but teenagers get overlooked quite a bit. While I know that things can happen in a child's life that will scar them forever...teenagers can hurt just as badly and maybe even deeper. The more I thought about it, the more I want to help a teenager.

You want to get sad? Let me tell you about Paige's life. She has friends (yes, there is an "s" as in plural on the end of that word.) at her school that have been kicked out of their homes...many for different reasons. Kicked out of their homes. Now, I don't know what happened for their lives to get to that point, but I'm here to tell you that no child of mine is going ANYWHERE until I've got them grown to at least the age 18. Even if I have t'beat their butts on occasion. (For those who don't believe in corporal punishment? Live your way and I'll live mine. Georgia law states I can spank my kids and you can be assured I will do so if the need arises.) I'm not saying these are bad kids. They could have bad parents. Now THAT makes me livid. There is no excuse (in my book) for bad parenting. You can make parenting mistakes and you can wish you handled a situation differently, but live and learn, people. Pick yourself up and go forward, learn from your mistakes, and do your best to raise your kids right. Like I said, I don't know what happened in many of these cases, so judgement is a sketchy thought at this point.

When I hear her tell me tales of the kids she sees on a daily basis, my heart strings get tugged on something fierce. I want to take them all, bring them home with us, feed them, and make sure they know that there are good people out in this cruel world. I met one little gal a week or so ago that goes to school with Paige. She's ended up pregnant and I surely hate that's happened to her. I really hate that her family disowned her and kicked her out. I really hate that she's about to pop and working as a waitress to make money while going to school full-time during the day. (High school, that is.) I love how sweet and polite she is as she comes to our table to meet her eyes sparkle even though they look so tired and older than her seventeen years. She told my daughter that she made a mistake, but she's going to do the absolute best she can with the situation she has.

I am so sad to hear about the boy who lives with his dad and brother and his dad kicked him out. How he makes excellent grades and talks about being a nuclear engineer one day, but needs shoes that doesn't have holes in them. I am warmed by the family that has taken him in, but I wonder what kind of Christmas season he will have in a home that isn't his?

Lord, please help me understand how this happens!! Please. I love my children with every fiber of my being and can't imagine treating them like they're disposable when the feeling strikes.

Lord, please help me find a way to help one of these kids in some way- be it large or small, before or on the 25th of this December month.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Candle Love

One of the things our family is going to do this Christmas is make Jesus a birthday cake. Miss Hope and family are all about some Jesus and The Man and I are wanting to stress that the reason for the season is about the birth of Jesus. Since The Man is the baker in the family*, he thought it a good idea to make Jesus a cake and let the kids help him cook and decorate it to enjoy. The kids seem really excited about this and are gung ho about baking Jesus his own cake for his birthday.

Today, The Man, The Boy, and I were at the commissary shopping. We go on base to the commissary about twice a month for what I call "big groceries". Otherwise, I get my milk, bread, and such from W*lmart down the road.

Anyway, we were in the produce and deli section and about to do some serious food gathering. I was over looking at something while The Man was checking the quality of the oranges. I noticed my son a few feet away looking at the turning rack of birthday accessories (i.e. candles, decorations, and etc.).

All of a sudden, I heard his voice ring out across the produce...

"Hey, Dad? How old is Jesus again?"

I turned to my husband and started laughing. Why? I don't's not a question you hear every day, I suppose.

The wheels started turning in my boy's head. He asked when Jesus was born and my husband told him on December 25, 0000 (zero zero zero zero-that's how he told him.)

Now my kid isn't about those number candles. Oh, no. He likes to blow out the individual candles because number candles are a crock.

Those wheels continued to turn. I immediately told him we simply could not do two thousand and ten candles.

We compromised. He picked out two packs and was satisfied.

Remind me to turn the smoke detector off when we light those bad boys, would you?

* I am not a baker. I am a good cook, but I am not a baker. My family will be quick to tell you that Mama can cook, but she can NOT bake. I accept this and let The Man do that job since he's good at it.

** Another side note of useless information. If you want to hear many different languages spoken? Go to a commissary. I find it just ...I don't know....odd....that in a commissary on an American post/base, you will hear many different languages spoken as you push your buggy through the store getting groceries. I know your local W*lmart may have a Hispanic section of food, but if you have a good sized commissary? You'll get all different kinds of ethnic food sections. I've had a right large time trying some random things out of different sections. Many people from different countries are stationed here and there are also spouses from other countries that make up the wild mix cultures that grace the commissary on any given day.

Christmas Cheer

I promise I've taken a few pictures of my house and its lovely decorations and if I don't put these pictures up? Girlfriend Down the Street will have my head. She's sweet that way, you know.

I got a little something on my mind that I can't just seem to shake.

My family and I are so blessed it's not even funny. Retirement from the military has treated us very well and I thank the Lord above every single day for his continuous showers of blessings on our heads. I'm not saying we're rich, because heaven knows we're not. It's just been alot easier this year not having to struggle to buy groceries or pay for lunch money at school, or put gas in our vehicles. For the first time in my life, I feel like I can breathe better.

Since we got the go ahead that we're staying in our home for Christmas, Santa and I have been much closer contact. I told the big guy that my kids had it kind of tough last year. We didn't get to put our decorations up because of moving during the break. We rushed up I-95 for about 24 hours of Christmas with family, hurried back to pack it all up and move. Poor kids really didn't get a break at all because we were unpacking our new home and they were starting new schools. Do I have to make it up to them? Nah, they're good kids and of course they bounced back quick and promptly forgot about all we had to do in such a short time.

I want to make this year special.

Suffice it to say, Santa and Miss Hope are real tight at this point and I am comfortable believing that next weekend will be AWESOME.

Now that my kids are taken care of....I started thinking about kids who won't be taken care of this Christmas season. I saw an article on yahoo (in the news section- a video clip) of the post offices receiving all these letters to Santa. Kids are asking for clothes, shoes, jobs for a parent. Even parents are writing letters to Santa asking for clothes for their kids, food to eat, a job, maybe a toy if possible. My heart breaks clean in two when I see stuff like this.

See, I've had tough Christmases. I had the personal meltdowns where I sobbed because I had no way of talking to Santa. My children are blessed individuals to have people who love them and will talk to Santa for them. I will forever hold these people extra close to my heart because of what they did. Now, my children have never gone without food, clothes, or shelter. No sir. But, jeesh, I just wanted them to have at least a small Christmas. Oh, how I want to cry now knowing how I felt then and knowing how these parents feel who are writing to Santa for their own children.

I am in the process of finding our family a Christmas Angel. There are so many children in our own area that are in need. I wish I could take care of all the children who need a pair of shoes, a warm coat, a hot meal, or a bed. If I were to ever be rich, I wouldn't be that way for long because I have to take care of bidness, people.

I will not be able to enjoy my Christmas if we don't help at least one person in need this Christmas season. I don't know exactly how that's going to happen at this moment, but believe me, I'm working on it.

Please, if you possibly can, consider helping a child or family this year. Miss Hope is on a mission right now and would love for you to tag along!!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Decisions Made

I just love when some decisions are made and I don't have to be the one to make the choice.

The Great Christmas Decision has been made.

We are staying in our home for the holiday this year. The Man's father called last week to inform us that he has accepted a job offer here in Georgia and it's only a few hours down the road from our home. You want to talk about a happy man? My husband is so thrilled that his parents are going to be in the same state and only a few hours away from him. This hasn't happened in over twenty years and he is over the moon.

We were at my parent's house for Thanksgiving and the adults were sitting on the front porch rocking and chattting while the kids played in leaf piles under the trees when he said to me, "I want to be selfish this year. I want my Mom and Dad for Christmas." I just love this man. He has been so easy going and if it is in his power to give to me what I want...then he will do his best to make it happen. (Proof- the 12ft. Christmas Tree in my living room right now-saving for a later post.) I felt helpless when he made that statement because it just wasn't in my power to make this one request of his come true.

Mr. C (the dad-in-law) told his son that he will only have one day off for Christmas since he's starting a new job, but he'll drive over Thursday evening and leave out Sunday to head back. Now, we're working on getting Mrs. M. here. She's still in Nebraska recovering from a cruise they took before Thanksgiving. She had herself a large time on that cruise but her health took a little beating. She's working on getting some rest and getting all her levels straightened out and good again. I am praying hard that she will feel better and we can get her here so she and Mr. C won't be separated at Christmastime.

The kid are excited to spend the holiday with their MiMi and Poppies. For eight years now, they've shared Christmas over a speaker phone as we opened gifts and hollered and laughed at each other. It will be something new for them, but I think they're hoping MiMi will make her awesome pancakes Christmas morning. (I admit,too.)

I just have to say, yet again, that my children are so blessed. They have the most amazing grandparents in the entire world. Seriously, they do. I love my mother and father-in-law for so many reasons, but they'll never know how much I love them just because they love my children. When the girls first met them, The Man and I weren't married, but that four year old Makenna jumped up in Mr. C's arms and it was over for that man. Paige took a little while, but she warmed up to her new grandparents and now? She wouldn't trade them for anything. My Daddy has an extra special place in her heart. You know the place in the heart where girls have men who they love wholeheartedly and without reservation? Well, that sister has her Papa and Poppies filling that space to capacity. Don't get me wrong, she loves her Nana and her MiMi, too, but she gets all soft and mushy when she talks about how she loves her Papa and Poppies. How fortunate is she to have two amazing men from different cultures and backgrounds to be wonderful role models in her life? I admit I might be a little jealous.

I am also blessed that my parents and my in-laws get along so well. Mrs. M and Mama have a great time visiting when they get to see each other (which is rarely). My mother was happy to hear she might get to see Mrs. M more often with this move. I know Mrs. M feels the same way and that just makes me get warm fuzzies.

Okay. Okay. Enough with the mushy gushy love stuff. I am now in the process of planning a menu for Christmas weekend. Gah. I've never had to do such a thing because my Mama has ruled that position as long as I've been alive. On our last visit home, I was able to bully the family recipe for Ambrosia out of my Grandma and Aunt. Lawd have mercy, that's some good stuff. I want to take my own turn at making this tasty dish and I believe Christmas will be the perfect time to do this. ** Side story: We were eating some of this delectable dish at Mama's after Thanksgiving dinner when Makenna came up to me and said, "You DO realize that ambrosia is nectar of the gods." To which I replied, "It's okay, I'm a goddess and totally allowed to eat this." ** Don't bother asking for the recipe, I can't share it. It's like a blood oath thing you have to do in order to get the recipe....something to the effect that your hair will fall out and your vacuum will stay broken forever. I KID. A little. But not much. I can't share it, okay?? But if you ever ate a bowl of it? Yeah, it's THAT good.

The Man wants to fry another turkey. That makes me so nervous because youtube is full of videos of how frying a turkey can go bad. Very bad. He did a perfect job last time he attempted this, but dang. That was military housing. This is MY house. I guess I'll do what I did last time and make him go out in the middle of the back yard and then I will watch anxiously from the window and open the back door to holler suggestions from the safety of the house. I'd rather bake a ham and make some biscuits but he is insistent and you know what? This is HIS holiday this year and if he wants to fry a turkey? By golly, have at it Big Boy.

I love time, you know. It has a way of making us better people or worse. Two years ago, I would have shown my ENTIRE butt over not going to my parent's house for Christmas. I am now able to see past my own selfish self to my husband, the one who has loved me in spite of myself. He needs this so badly and it's such a simple thing to give him. Guess it goes to show that you're never too old to grow up, huh?

This is the honest truth, too. I know he may read this sooner or later (when he's bored at work maybe?). If I don't get a single material gift this Christmas.....I'll be the most blessed of all because my husband's happiness will be gift enough for me.